5 Super-Foods for Your Hormonal Balance
There are certain foods which are proven to help balance hormones and lower inflammation. Below are some of my favourite foods to use to help balance your hormones. Whether you suffer from PMS symptoms every month, have endometriosis or PCOS…..
My first super food is from the humble Brassica family. These are cruciferous vegetables and include:
Cruciferous vegetables have many mechanisms which help to support hormone balance. For example they contain a compound called diindolylmethane (DIM). This indole inhibits the conversion of oestrone to 16-Hydroxyestrone which is the most potent form of oestrogen in the body. Supporting the conversion of oestrone to 2-hydroxyestrone instead should help to balance oestrogen levels naturally.
Cruciferous vegetables are also high in fibre. The body uses fibre to bind toxins and excess hormones to when excreting them from the body. Try eating some of the above vegetables 3 x week.
The next food I want to discuss is fermented foods. Fermented foods have been around for 1000s of years and are still used daily in lots of different cultures around the world. Foods like sauerkraut, kimchi or even yogurt are great sources of friendly bacteria which thrive in our digestive systems. These friendly bacteria not only help with the digestion and excretion of our food but they also make up part of our immune system and some can even produce vitamin K for us. Go bacteria!
By supporting your digestive system you are helping the body to excrete any excess hormones that it doesn’t need anymore. Excess hormones can be recirculated in the blood stream if they spend too long in the digestive tract and we want to try and avoid this. Try adding a tablespoon of sauerkraut to lunch and dinner each day, or a glass of kefir in the morning.
The next superfood on my list is more of a herb but nonetheless its effects on hormone balance cannot be faulted. Agnus castus (Chasteberry) has been shown to inhibit prolactin and regulate progesterone levels. Hyperprolactinemia (high prolactin levels) is a factor which should be considered when looking at PMS symptoms. It normalises the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle too.
PMS signs and symptoms where agnus castus may be helpful include:
Dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
Note* Agnus Castus is contraindicated and should not be used alongside the OCP or HRT. Always consult a qualified practitioner before taking any supplements.
Oily fish is such an amazing and under rater superfood. It is a brilliant source of omega 3 fatty acids, studies show that omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and might be helpful in the management of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. For example, an in vitro study of endometrial cells exposed to omega 3 PUFA show that the survival of endometriosis may be reduced by omega 3s cytokine modulating function. Try adding SMASH fish into your diet 3 x per week. This includes salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring.
Flaxseed contain a high amount of ligans which are a form of polyphenols which are high in phytoestrogens. These phytoestrogens can bind to oestrogen receptors in the body. They can compete and block the binding sites from oestrogen. Don’t worry though they have a much weaker oestrogenic effect than oestrogen. Flaxseed are also a wonderful source of dietary fibre. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed in a smoothie or on your breakfast can help to regulate a bowel movement and as we learnt earlier excess hormones are excreted through the small intestines so really flaxseeds are helping to balance our hormones in many ways.